Save 15 percent of income- Cronje

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pretoria - KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Finance, Ina Cronj,, has encouraged people especially young people to save at least 15 percent of their income.

"It is a fact that 75 percent of South Africans have inadequate retirement savings. The sad truth is that some people do not manage to retire at all and find themselves facing serious financial shortfalls when they reach retirement age, with far too little in the way of savings to maintain their lifestyle," Cronje said.

She pointed out that the low rate of saving and the increase in the debt of citizens in the hope of achieving their aspirations instantly have dire consequences not just for the individual's financial stability, but also for the provincial efforts to achieve sustainable economic growth.

The provincial government, through the Provincial Treasury, has prioritised educating citizens about how to manage their finances.

The initiative has seen the province calling for the financial services sector and the private sector to come on board and play its role through the KZN Financial Literacy Association, championed by Cronj,, in helping citizens to make financially-sound decisions.

"Through this association, the government and private sector are tackling financial illiteracy head-on... this initiative involves numerous educational programmes targeting the citizenry, starting at school level, as a way to create a savings culture in the province.

"A savings culture needs to be inculcated in all the citizens, young and old, people cannot live like there is no tomorrow, we have to save for rainy days, a high savings rate would allow our province to meet investment needs, making us less reliant on volatile short-term capital inflows for funding, which can easily be reversed and pose risks of instability for an emerging economy like ours," said Cronje.

She noted that although the country is officially out of the recession, its savings rate of 16 percent is far lower than that of other successful countries, even in Africa.

"KwaZulu-Natal's economic growth of 3.13 percent in 2010 is worrisome indeed but given where we were a year ago there is an improvement, however it is not at the level where we would like it to be or at level where we are able to create sufficient and descent jobs."

The national government recently launched the National Savings Month (July), where citizens were encouraged to 'save now' and to do it for themselves and for their country.

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